Into the Far West

Far West RPG
Far West RPG

The Far West is a transmedia project conceived by Gareth-Michael Sharka and his compatriots at Adamant Entertainment. As a transmedia project, it will eventually provide several points of access for audiences including novels, comics, web series, and a tabletop roleplaying game. The roleplaying game was recently funded via Kickstarter and broke the previous hobby game funding record after acquiring over seven hundred backers and amassing nearly fifty thousand dollars!

You’ve Got Shaw Brothers in My Sergio Leone

The setting blends the elements of the Chinese Wuxia and Spaghetti Western genres. Add a completely fictitious setting (this is not the American West or the a Ming Dynasty era China) and some steampunk elements and you’ve got an idea where Adamant Entertainment, the publisher of Far West, is taking the setting.

From the website[1]:

A fantasy world that’s The Gunslinger meets Storm Riders meets Deadwood meets Afro Samurai meets The Wild Wild West meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Django meets Brisco County meets House of Flying Daggers and more.

A fantasy world that’s explored through a constantly-updated website, a tabletop role-playing game, a web series, artwork, fiction, comics and much, much, more. A fantasy world that is shaped by its own fan community.

From what I’ve gleaned from the fabulous vignettes and development articles on the website, the setting consists of the Empire, a heavily developed urban area with very little wild, empty spaces. The heart of the Empire rests on the eastern shore of the Eastern Ocean. As you move farther west, the wild becomes more dominant as law and civilization become more sparse. This, of course, is keeping with its American Frontier influences.

Beyond the core Empire, you have the Periphery, which are Imperial Territories. In the recent past, most of the Periphery rebelled in what is known as the Succession Wars. It wasn’t a concerted effort, and slowly the Empire quelled each territory. Beyond the Periphery is the Frontier, and beyond the Frontier you’re in the Far West.

Odyssey System
Odyssey System

The FATE of d20 on this Odyssey

There hasn’t been much discussion about what rules would be powering the Far West. However, I did find buried on the website a single post[2] explaining at a conceptual level what direction the rules were heading in.

The rules will officially be known as the Odyssey System, which, at its basic level is an integration of FATE[3] Aspects mechanics into the d20 framework. Of particular note are the modifications of the basic d20 system, which actually reminds me a lot of Mutants & Masterminds[4] or True20[5]:

  • Classless
    – Mechanics called Backgrounds and Occupations actually give you Areas of Knowledge
  • Abilities
    – Ability scores are simply represented as the bonus (i.e. -1, +2, etc.)
    – Spirit is a points pool determined by Wisdom that power Kung Fu and the like
    – Any Ability may have a saving throw… such as a Social saving thrown for Charisma
  • Aspects
    – Imported from FATE
    – Based on the traditional Xia virtues: Altruism, Justice, Individualism, Loyalty, Courage, Glory, Poverty
  • Skills
    – Eliminated and governed by straight Ability checks
    – Backgrounds, Occupations, and Edges give bonuses
  • Edges
    – Combines Feats and Class Talents
  • Kung Fu
    – Sort of an expanded Edge
    – Powered by Spirit
    – Purchased with a points-buy system
  • Combat
    – Swaps Hit Points for a Toughness system (similar to M&M)
    – Would levels with penalties
    – Initiative bonus is an average of Wisdom and Dexterity
    – Strength applies to melee defense (blocking)
    – Stunt system powered by critical successes

Seasoned Wanderer of the Dust Road

Since I pledged as a backer of the Far West Kickstarter[6], I’ll be able to follow along with the development of the setting as well as receive a copy of the rules once they are sent to print. So check back here, or visit the official website, for more details if you’re interested in this fantastic mash-up. The work so far really makes me think that Far West will be more than a sum of its parts and will probably be able to stand on its own as a very well done world and game.

Wild West Weeks

Listening to: Yoshida Brothers – Tsugaru Shamisen – Morricone

References


[1] Into The Far West website
[2] The Odyssey System
[3] FATE website
[4] Mutants & Masterminds
[5] True20
[6] Far West Kickstarter

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